Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Father's Wound -- by Vivek Narayanan

A while ago we discussed the purpose and use of altruism. Are empathy and self-sacrifice idealistic and self-defeating? Or are we always entangled in some kind of altruism, if the option is narrow self-interest? Some find meaning in picking up their father's burden -- as in this poem by Zambian born Indian poet Vivek Narayanan. Enjoi/n.


Avocado trees on the moon. Aichigum,
mullukumb, Billy Blue Gum. This is not exactly
a confessional. My father's wound
was also my wound, dirt outside
Vedanta Hall, blood in the dirt
below the gutter pipe, blood like washing
undone in my banian fold. I am not saying
that blood was the thing. My father
was singing. From the tall narrow barred window,
the gravel driveway, in the heat, my father's wound
is jelly to the touch. I touch it now.

Vivek Narayanan (s)


This poem is part of the collection Universal Beach. It can be purchased from